Items filtered by date: September 2021 - Freefmgh.Com

Congo will takeover Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC's) rotating presidency in 2022, succeeding neighbors Angola. The oil cartel's secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo was in the central African country this week where he met with the country's leaders.

"I would like to reassure investors that we in OPEC will continue to work for the leadership of African countries in this organization," said Barkindo during a press conference.

With 2.9 billion barrels of oil reserves and 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Congo is driving development across the entire energy value chain. Congo's state oil company SNPC has emphasized the role that natural gas will play in alleviating poverty and positioning the country as a regional energy hub.

In recent years, the country has seen a drop in oil revenues due, among other things, to production cuts imposed by OPEC amid concerns that producers Total and Eni are cheating the country.

To broaden its tax base, the government has canceled tax and customs exemptions granted to oil companies for more than 30 years, a move welcomed by activists.

Congo is the third-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria and Angola, with an estimated production of 336,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Published in Business

Africa's post-pandemic economic growth

On this edition of Business Africa we find out how are banks are looking at post-pandemic growth on the continent, interview with the President of West African Development Bank, Serge Ekue.

- Cameroon Biogas Boom -

In Cameroon, an eco-friendly coal production plant was set up a few years ago thanks to Eric Tankeu. One of its objectives is to reduce the use of wood, its derivatives and of liquified petroleum gas by the population in order to adopt an organic and healthy gas. The products have become popular in the economic capital and Eric Tankeu wants to increase production and conquer the north of Cameroon.

- Uganda: Reinventing Banana Fibres -

In Uganda, a startup is reinventing banana waste. Fibres obtained from the stems enable Texfad, a local company, to manufacture fabrics and synthetic hair extensions.

Published in Business

A year after singer Akon laid the first stone of the $6 billion futuristic city he vowed to build for his native Senegal, the site remains grassland.

The stone itself sits at the bottom of a dirt track in a field; a small placard advertising the megaproject has fallen off it.

Construction of "Akon City," a project due to feature ultramodern twisting skyscrapers, was already meant to have begun near the Atlantic Ocean village of Mbodiene.

But building work is yet to start, prompting residents who were hoping for jobs to wonder about its future.

"They laid the foundation stone with a lot of speeches and promises," said Jules Thiamane, a 35-year-old local who works in the tourism industry.

"Compared to everything that was announced, I don't think we have seen much yet."

Akon -- a Senegalese-American singer-songwriter best known for his R&B hits such as "Smack That" -- launched his eponymous city in September 2020, to great fanfare and international media attention.

The city's otherworldly design is partly inspired by Wakanda, he said at the time, referring to the fictional African city of the "Black Panther" Marvel movie and comic series.

Akon City's planners also say it will be a "beacon of innovation and human development" that will boost industry in the West African state of Senegal.

A stadium, casino, luxury high-rise apartment complexes, and an education district that will "accommodate the most prestigious universities in the world" are also part of the plans.

- Sleepy hamlet -

The glittering vision is a far cry from the existing sleepy hamlet of Mbodiene, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of the capital, where pigs roll in the muck and donkeys amble along the road.

Locals interviewed by AFP said they knew little about Akon City, nor why construction had been delayed.

The ceremonial stone was laid on August 31 2020 and construction was scheduled to begin early this year.

A hospital, school, shopping mall, homes, police station, waste centre and solar power plant are supposed to be completed in 2023 -- and the whole city by 2030.

Speaking on an untarmacked road as horned cattle grazed behind him, 25-year-old student Ahmeth Deme wondered whether the project had been cancelled.

Badara Diakhate, the deputy mayor of the local commune, said he was unaware of the exact reason for the delay but that "people want things to get going."

He welcomed investment in the village and said that delays were common, especially given the pandemic

- Disillusioned -

At $6 billion, the planned cost of Akon City is huge -- it is not much smaller than Senegal's overall 2020 budget of about $7.5 billion.

The pomp and size the project elicited scepticism in Senegal at first, where developers and politicians often tout the merits of pet building works.

About 40 percent of Senegal's 16 million people live below the poverty line, according to a World Bank metric.

A lack of clarity regarding Akon City's funding also raised questions.

Paul Martin, from the US-based firm KE International which won the Akon City construction contract, said that Kenyan entrepreneur Julius Mwale is the lead investor.

He added that he could not disclose information on other investors for confidentiality reasons, but said more than $4 billion in funding had been raised.

Construction of Akon City will start in October, Martin said, after a similar Mwale-funded city is completed in Kenya.

"The first 12 months incorporated planning, approvals, procurement and recruitment of sub-contractors," Martin said by email, referring to Akon City.

But tourism worker Thiamane said that he'd grown disillusioned, pointing to earlier failed development projects in Mbodiene.

"What is shared in the village at the moment is the beginning of disappointment," he said.

Akon's team, and the Senegalese state tourism agency SAPCO, which is managing the project on the government's behalf, did not respond to repeated solicitations by AFP for comment.

- 'Still have hope' -

Most Mbodiene residents cited the potential benefits of Akon City and said it could bring jobs.

"This is big for us," said Philomene Bamimba, who heads a local women's association.

David Seck Sene, president of the village youth association, admitted there was confusion around the delays but said: "I still have hope. I don't see how a project like this could stop tomorrow."

He, like other residents, is pushing for education and training so that villagers are not sidelined to labourers' roles in Akon City.

KE International's Paul Martin said the aim is to empower locals to fill high-skilled jobs, adding that training would start when construction does.

No one in Mbodiene interviewed by AFP was aware of these plans, however.





Published in Politics

Ahead of Sunday's presidential election in Sao Tome and Principe, two candidates are vying to succeed Evaristo Carvalho, president since 2016, who has decided not to run again.

The president has largely ceremonial powers, he may arbitrate disputes but does not govern.

The first round was held without major incident, July 18. The outcome of the vote has been disputed.

Carlos Vila Nova of the center-right opposition Independent Democratic Action (ADI) party led the first round of voting on July 18 with 43.3 percent of the vote.

His opponent for the runoff is Guilherme Posser da Costa of the center-left Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe (MLSTP) party, who scored 20.7 percent.

The third-placed candidate, Delfim Neves, had alleged fraud during the ballot and demanded a recount.

Carlos Vila Nova and his supporters had also questioned the results suggesting that Nova's actual support was higher than the official National Electoral Commission (NEC) result of 39.4 percent.

The country is a former Portuguese colony of 210,000 people that is widely considered a beacon of parliamentary democracy in West Africa.

Published in Politics

A former Deputy Minister of Information under the Mahama administration, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, has responded to the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church Rt. Rev. Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, for saying that persons who are against the construction of the agenda 111 hospitals are witches.

Rt. Rev. Prof. Obiri Yeboah Mante urged Pastors who want to exorcise witchcraft to tackle persons who are against the agenda 111 project because their attitude smacks of witchcraft.

“We’ve allowed politics to dominate our lives to an extent that we do not have good hospitals… If someone says he is coming to construct 111 hospitals and you are angry about it, you are a witch. For the pastors who want to exorcise witchcraft, deal with those critics,” he told the gathering.

But in a Facebook post reacting to this development, Mr Kwakye Ofosu said “Apparently, you can unwittingly earn the tag of a witch or wizard for being a critic of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government.”

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday August 17 commissioned the Agenda 111 project which will ensure the construction of 111 hospitals across the country.

During the commission of the project in Trede in the Ashanti Region the President said among other things that the project will be providing 20,000 jobs for health professionals when completed.

He said the Ministry of Health is going to recruit more doctors, nurses and pharmacists when the project is done.

He also said that more indirect jobs are also going to be created by the project implementation

The president further indicated that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed years of under investment in Ghana’s health sector.

To that end, he said his administration is improving on the investment in the health sector of the economy.

He said “I am glad that the biggest ever investment  in the nation’s healthcare  is being made .We have met this morning  because of the ravages of Covid 19  which has affected every country  on the planet . For us in Ghana not only has the pandemic disrupted our daily lives, but it has also  exposed the deficiencies  with our healthcare system  because of the  years of under  investment and neglect

Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu said during the event that the surest way for the government to improve on the healthcare delivery is to provide infrastructure.

To that end, he said the government is committed to providing the needed health infrastructure.

He said “As you know, a healthy people guarantee a healthy  nation  and government  being mindful of this fact has proved to show to the people  its commitment  to improve the health status of all residents in the country.

“The surest way to improve healthcare  sis through providing new  infrastructure  or improving just  existing ones across the length and breadth of the country.”




Published in Politics

Ransford Gyampo, an associate professor in the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, has stated that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) can break the eight-year power cycle in 2024.

Gyampo, however, said achieving the feat is dependent on how the governing party welcomes the outcome of the latest survey conducted by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD). 

The report which sampled the views of over 2000 Ghanaians from all 16 regions of the country between 23 May and 3 June shows 62% of Ghanaians are not confident government can tackle corruption.

“While Ghanaians are split (48% vs. 48%) on the government’s ability to ensure that rule of law is upheld in the next four years, majority are not confident in its ability to protect the country’s financial resources (53%) and curb corruption and official impunity (62%),” the survey said.

Speaking with Kojo Mensah on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Friday (3 September), Prof Gyampo said the outcome is the reason why the NPP lost seats in Parliament.

“… It is good for the NPP that this thing has come up now, if they are thinking of breaking the eight-year cycle, and if they really mean business. Looking at the timing, if I were them, I will seize the opportunity to begin to do something drastic.”

Gyampo added: “You can do one thing today and it changes the way people think about you. So if they will take this in good faith and begin to work on them in the next six months to one year, I am sure they will be making giant strides in their quest to think about breaking the eight-year cycle.”

Positive response
He said he is, however, impressed with the reaction of the NPP to the survey. “I commend their attitude and response to this,” he said.

CDD report
The findings among others, however, reveal 57% of Ghanaians have no confidence in the government to expand the One District One Factory (1D1F) initiative across the country.

Touching on the 2020 elections, the report blamed the reduction of the president’s vote on his own performance and that of NPP MPs.

“A cumulative 58% attributed the reduction in President Nana Akufo-Addo’s vote margin to the president’s policy decision and actions (cited by 21%), his MPs’ and appointees’ performance (19%), as well as the president’s performance (18%).

“Respondents attributed the loss of seats by the NPP to the non-performance of the NPP and its MPs (33%), as well as the party’s bad campaign strategy (24%),” the CDD report added.

The report, however, attributed the gains the NDC made in the parliamentary elections to the non-performance of the NPP MPs (22%) and the NDC’s campaign strategy (15%).








Published in Politics

Charles Owusu has issued a stern warning to Ghanaians who use insults to address national issues.

He descended on this type of the citizenry while commenting on the recent kind gesture by the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, towards the National Cathedral.

The board of trustees of the National Cathedral Secretariat has rolled out the “ketewa biara nsua” initiative to raise funds to build the edifice.

Ghanaians are being encouraged to make a GHC 100 donation towards the project.

The National Chief Imam, on Thursday, August 26, made a GHC 50,000 donation to the National Cathedral project when the board of trustees paid a courtesy call on him at his office.

But the Chief Imam has come under criticisms following his donation.

Speaking on Peace FM's 'Kokrokoo' programme, Charles Owusu noted that some of the criticims are insulting and therefore wondered why some people cannot make their arguments devoid of insults.

He lambasted the public generally for raining invectives on the leaders of the nation including the National Chief Imam who he reminded Ghanaians about his able leadership and long life.

"Let's be careful for the Bible says everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial," he warned.

Source: Ameyaw Adu Gyamfi/



Published in Politics

Former Head of Monitoring at the Forestry Commission, Charles Owusu, has waded into discussions regarding a recent survey conducted by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) about the Akufo-Addo administration.

The new survey reveals that majority of Ghanaians lack confidence in President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to fight corruption.

Sixty-two (62) percent of 2,400 Ghanaians interviewed in the CDD post-election survey conducted between May 23 and June 3, 2021 indicate a lot of the citizens don't trust the President to “protect the country’s financial resources and curb corruption in the next four years.”

“While Ghanaians are split (48% vs. 48%) on the government’s ability to ensure that rule of law is upheld in the next four years, majority [of them] are not confident in its ability to protect the country’s financial resources (53%) and curb corruption and official impunity (62%).”

Making his submissions on Peace FM's 'Kokrokoo' programme, Charles Owusu raised concerns about the corrupt practices not resolved by the incumbent administration.

To him, the government should be seen practically tackling corruption, but in reality, the government is not doing much as those who have to be punished are left off the hook.

He singled out the former National Coordinator of the defunct Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), Abuga Pele who was sentenced to a six-year jail term but has been pardoned and freed by President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Mr. Pele, a former Member of Parliament for Chiana/Paga in the Upper East Region and a businessman, Philip Akpeena Assibit were both sentenced to a total of 18 years in prison on February 23, 2018 for their involvement in the GH¢4.1 million GYEEDA scandal.

Charles Owusu believed the Presidential pardon sends a wrong signal to the public.

He questioned why high-profile personalities found guilty of corruption are pardoned while ordinary Ghanaians who commit offences rot in prisons.

Speaking to host Nana Yaw Kesseh, Charles Owusu admonished the government to treat corruption with extreme seriousness and punishment saying, "corruption should be like death sentence. When we weigh corruption, it should be just as death sentence".





Published in Politics

National Communications Director of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Yaw Buaben Asamoa, has welcomed the CDD report on corruption involving the Akufo-Addo administration.

CDD's new survey indicates a majority of Ghanaians have lost confidence in President Nana Akufo-Addo to fight corruption.

According to the survey, 62% of 2400 Ghanaians interviewed by the CDD lack confidence in the government.

“While Ghanaians are split (48% vs. 48%) on the government’s ability to ensure that rule of law is upheld in the next four years, majority [of them] are not confident in its ability to protect the country’s financial resources (53%) and curb corruption and official impunity (62%).”

But to Yaw Buaben Asamoa, the survey is rather an indication that Ghanaians have noticed the good works of the government.

Speaking during Peace FM's ''Kokrokoo'' programme Friday morning, Mr. Buaben Asamoa noted that the government is tackling corruption head-on.

He asked Ghanaians to continue to be confident in President Akufo-Addo, not pay attention to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) who he argued has nothing better to offer Ghanaians.''We know what NDC can do, nothing!'', he stated, adding, "we're solving corruption. We're not afraid to say we're working about it . . . continue to have confidence in the NPP, for we will cause a major transformation in the country''.

Watch video below






Published in Politics
Sunday, 05 September 2021 00:00

Taliban Declare China Their Closest Ally

Taliban officials have declared China as their closest ally in the international community.

The militants say Beijing is “ready to invest in and reconstruct” Afghanistan and describe the nation as their “principal partner".

Zabihulla Mujahid, the spokesman for the group, stated the Chinese would help to revive Afghan copper mining. He also praised the Chinese for their One Belt One Road investment project which has forged forward despite criticism from western countries.

China is one of the few countries which did not evacuate staff from their Kabul embassy in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover.

It was also been reported that a Taliban delegation visited China in July for talks with the foreign minister Wang Yi, in Tianjin.

Mr. Mujahid told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica: “China is our principal partner and for us represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity because it’s ready to invest in and reconstruct our country.

“We hold in high regard the One Belt One Road project that will serve to revive the ancient Silk Road.

“Beyond that, we have rich copper mines which thanks to the Chinese can be brought back into production and modernised.

"China represents our passport towards the markets of the whole world.”

His comments come after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab declared that Britain won’t be “recognising the Taliban at any time in the foreseeable future.”

But he said there was a need for "direct engagement" with the group, to ensure UK nationals and Afghan allies could leave Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated the message, adding that if the Taliban wanted to engage with the West then “the first priority for them for us is safe passage for those who want to leave".

Raab also said that evacuation flights from Afghanistan could resume “in the near future” after talks with leaders in Qatar.



Published in Politics
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